Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lifestyle & Health / 17.07.2015

Carl "Chip" Lavie MD, FACC FACP, FCCP Medical Director, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention Director, Exercise Laboratories John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute Professor of Medicine Ochsner Clinical School-UQ School of Medicine Editor-in-Chief, Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carl "Chip" Lavie MD, FACC FACP, FCCP Medical Director, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention Director, Exercise Laboratories John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute Professor of Medicine Ochsner Clinical School-UQ School of Medicine Editor-in-Chief, Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lavie: This was a review of the literature on this topic.The main findings are that various lifestyle choices, including obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome/diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea , moderate and high alcohol intakes, and sedentary lifestyle but also very high exercise doses are all associated with increased risk of atrial fibrillation (AF). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease / 13.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Azfar B. Sheikh, M.D. Internal Medicine Resident Physician Staten Island University Hospital New York Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Sheikh: The background of this review article circles around the impact of atrial fibrillation on epidemiology, trends in hospitalizations, costs associated with hospitalization and outpatient care, in the United States. This article also describes the benefits of newer treatment modalities compared to the standard of care with regards to symptomatic improvement and prevention of thromboembolism. These findings are supported by several cost-utility analyses. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Sheikh: The main findings of the study are:
  • The cost of hospitalization is three times higher for patients with atrial fibrillation than those without atrial fibrillation.
  • 5 million new cases are being reported annually.
  • The incidence of atrial fibrillation is projected to increase from 1.2 million cases in 2010 to 2.6 million cases by 2030. Due to this increase in incidence, the prevalence of atrial fibrillation is projected to increase from 5.2 million cases to 12.1 million cases by 2030.
  • The most common co-moribidites associated with atrial fibrillation were hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and chronic obstructive lung disease.
  • According to the NIS database, the atrial fibrillation. hospitalization rate has increased from 1552 to 1812 per one million US residents per year from 2000 to 2010 (relative increase 14.4%).
  • According to the NIS database, the mortality associated with atrial fibrillation hospitalizations has decreased significantly from 1.2% in 2000 to 0.9% in 2010 (relative decrease 29.2%).
  • The median length of stay in the hospital is 3 days and increases proportionally with a rise in CHADS2 score.
  • The largest source of direct healthcare costs associated with atrial fibrillation is hospitalization. According to the NIS database, the mean cost of inpatient atrial fibrillation hospitalization increased significantly from $6401 in 2001 to $8439 in 2010 (relative increase 24.0%). The mean cost of atrial fibrillation hospitalization also increases proportionally with a rise in CHADS2 score.
  • In the outpatient setting, the highest costs were associated with physician office visits in comparison to emergency room and urgent care visits.
  • With regards to prevention of thromboembolism, the new oral anticoagulant agents (dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and apixaban) have been found to be more cost-effective compared to warfarin.
  • Left atrial catheter ablation is more effective than rate control and rhythm control. It is more cost-effective in younger patients who are moderate risk for stroke.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 22.06.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mary Vaughan Sarrazin Ph.D. Associate Professor University of Iowa Roy and Lucille Carver College of Medicine, and Iowa City VA Medical Center, Center for Comprehensive Access & Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) Iowa City, IA Dr. Rajesh Kabra MD Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Atrial fibrillation is associated with high risk of stroke and death. It is not known if these outcomes are different in whites, blacks and Hispanics. In our study of over 500,000 Medicare patients over the age of 65 years with newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation, we noted that compared to whites, blacks and Hispanics had a higher risk of mortality (46% and 11% higher respectively) and stroke (66% and 21% respectively). However after correcting for other co-morbidities and illnesses, the risk of mortality was the same in all the races; the higher risk of stroke was decreased in blacks and eliminated in Hispanics. This suggests that in blacks and Hispanics, atrial fibrillation is a marker for higher mortality and identifies patients at higher risk of death. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Yale / 10.06.2015

James V. Freeman MD, MPH, MS Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James V. Freeman MD, MPH, MS Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Freeman: Atrial fibrillation (AF) substantially increases the risk of major adverse clinical outcomes such as stroke and death, but it can also cause frequent symptoms, affect patient’s functional status, and impair their quality of life. While prior studies have reported the range of AF-related symptoms in patient populations, these studies were generally from highly selected patients and referral based practices, and may not reflect results in community practice or results with contemporary AF management. Using the Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (ORBIT-AF), a large, contemporary, prospective, community-based outpatient cohort, we evaluated the type and frequency of symptoms in patients with Atrial fibrillation. In addition, we measured the degree to which physician assessed symptom severity (using the European Heart Rhythm Association [EHRA] classification system) was correlated with patient reported quality of life (assessed by the Atrial Fibrillation Effect on QualiTy-of-life [AFEQT] questionnaire). Finally, we association between symptoms or quality of life with clinical outcomes, including death, hospitalization, stroke and major bleeding. In our community-based study, the majority of AF patients (61.8%) were symptomatic (EHRA >2) and 16.5% had severe or disabling symptoms (EHRA 3-4). EHRA symptom class was well correlated with the AFEQT quality of life score (Spearman correlation coefficient -0.39). Over 1.8 years of follow-up, Atrial fibrillation symptoms were associated with a higher risk of hospitalization (adjusted HR for EHRA ≥2 vs EHRA 1 1.23, 95% CI 1.15-1.31) and a borderline higher risk of major bleeding. Lower quality of life was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization (adjusted HR for lowest quartile of AFEQT vs highest 1.49, 95% CI 1.2-1.84), but not other major adverse events including death. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Weight Research / 31.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christopher X Wong MBBS MSc PhD Clinical Research Fellow | Clinical Trial Service Unit, Oxford Clinical Senior Lecturer | Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders, Adelaide Clinical Trial Service Unit, University of Oxford Roosevelt Drive, Oxford Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wong: Atrial fibrillation is an increasingly common heart rhythm disorder. This study demonstrates that even small increments in obesity are associated with a significantly increased risk of atrial fibrillation. Our data suggest that for every 1 unit reduction in body mass index there may be a 3-5% reduction in atrial fibrillation; for every 5 unit reduction, there may be 10-29% reductions. It should also be noted that this is likely to be a significant underestimate of the effect of weight reduction on atrial fibrillation rates as weight control has favourable effects on other risk factors for atrial fibrillation, such as hypertension and diabetes. Given the more than 45 million people with atrial fibrillation worldwide, even small but widespread reductions in obesity would thus help contain this ‘epidemic’ of atrial fibrillation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, NYU, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sleep Disorders / 22.04.2015

Dr. Larry Chinitz MD Professor of Medicine and Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology NYU Langone Medical Center MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Larry Chinitz MD Professor of Medicine and Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology NYU Langone Medical Center MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chinitz: The treatment algorithms proposed currently for maintenance of sinus rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation focus on use of anti-arrhythmic drugs and catheter ablation. Data available to evaluate the effect of modification of known adverse clinical factors on atrial fibrillation recurrence is scant. Obstructive sleep apnea in a known factor associated with both new onset atrial fibrillation as well as its recurrence after catheter ablation. Through a meta-analysis of available data we found that use of continuous positive airway pressure in patients with sleep apnea was associated with a 42% relative risk reduction in recurrence of atrial fibrillation. This effect was similar across patient groups irrespective of whether they were medically managed or with catheter ablation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Stroke, UCSD / 20.03.2015

Jonathan L. Halperin, M.D. The Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Professor of Medicine Mount Sinai School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan L. Halperin, M.D. The Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Professor of Medicine Mount Sinai School of Medicine Dr. Halperin is a member of the Steering Committee for the GLORIA-AF program and a consultant to Boehringer Ingelheim, which sponsored this research. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Halperin: The two analyses come from the GLORIA-AF Registry Program, a global, prospective, observational study supported by Boehringer Ingelheim, which is designed to characterize the population of newly diagnosed patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) at risk for stroke, and to study patterns, predictors and outcomes of different treatment regimens for stroke risk reduction in non-valvular atrial fibrillation patients. The data is based on treatment trends in 3,415 patients who entered the registry from November 2011 to February 2014 in North America. All patients had a recent diagnosis of NVAF, and 86.2 percent had a CHA2DS2-VASc score of 2 or higher. Results from the first analysis demonstrated that patients with the paroxysmal (occasional) form of non-valvular atrial fibrillation and at a high risk for stroke (CHA2DS2-VASc score of 2 or higher) were given an anticoagulant medication less often than those with persistent or permanent forms of NVAF, and a CHA2DS2-VASc score of 2 or higher. This pattern runs counter to NVAF guidelines calling for patients to receive oral anticoagulant therapy based on their risk of stroke, rather than the type of atrial fibrillation. In the second analysis, researchers found that despite high stroke risk, a considerable number of patients receive only aspirin or no medication. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Weight Research / 18.03.2015

Dr Rajeev Kumar Pathak MBBS, FRACP Cardiologist and Electrophysiology Fellow Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders | University of Adelaide Cardiovascular Investigation Unit | Royal Adelaide Hospital Adelaide Australia MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Rajeev Kumar Pathak MBBS, FRACP Cardiologist and Electrophysiology Fellow Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders | University of Adelaide Cardiovascular Investigation Unit | Royal Adelaide Hospital Adelaide Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Obesity and atrial fibrillation (AF) are dual epidemics that frequently coexist. Weight-loss reduces atrial fibrillation burden; however, whether this is sustained, has a dose effect or is influenced by weight-fluctuation is not known. In this study we evaluated the long-term impact of weight-loss and weight-fluctuation on rhythm control in obese individuals with atrial fibrillation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 28.02.2015

Dr. Simonetta Genovesi MD Department of Health Science University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza Italy Nephrology Unit San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Italy MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Simonetta Genovesi MD Department of Health Science University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza Italy Nephrology Unit San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Italy MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Genovesi: The prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on hemodialysis (HD) is high. The presence of atrial fibrillation increases the risk of thrombo-embolic stroke in the general population. The treatment of choice for reducing thrombo-embolic risk in AF patients is oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) with warfarin. However, the use of warfarin in HD patients is controversial because of the high risk of bleeding and the fact that it is not demonstrated a clear protection against the risk of stroke in this population. The purpose of the study was to prospectively evaluate the effect of OAT on the risk of mortality, stroke and bleeding in HD population. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Dr. Genovesi: In our hemodialysis population oral anticoagulant therapy does not increase the risk of total mortality, while antiplatelet agents are associated with an increased risk of death of about 70%. The continuous use of warfarin tends to be associated with improved survival as compared with individuals who discontinued the medication during the follow-up, but the incidence of thrombo-embolic events is not different in OAT subjects as compared with those who do not take it. Moreover, bleeding events are more frequent in patients taking warfarin, although the maintenance over time of an INR in the therapeutic range wards against the risk of bleeding. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, General Medicine, Heart Disease, Women's Heart Health / 26.02.2015

Gregory YH Lip MD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow), DFM, FACC, FESC Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Birmingham, UK; Adjunct Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, Thrombosis Research Unit, Aalborg University, Denmark; Visiting Professor of Haemostasis Thrombosis & Vascular Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK; Visiting Professor of Cardiology, University of Belgrade, Serbia Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences City Hospital Birmingham England UK MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gregory YH Lip MD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow), DFM, FACC, FESC Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, Thrombosis Research Unit, Aalborg University, Denmark; Aston Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences City Hospital Birmingham England UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Lip: Women with atrial fibrillation are at higher risk of stroke than men with atrial fibrillation. The reasons for this elevated risk remain unclear. The results from our worldwide study suggest that women are treated no differently to men in terms of anticoagulant therapy for stroke prevention. Thromboprophylaxis was, however, suboptimal in substantial proportions of men and women, with underuse in those at moderate-to-high risk of stroke and overuse in those at low risk. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Stroke / 01.02.2015

Dmitry Yaranov, MD Danbury Hospital Western Connecticut Health Network MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dmitry Yaranov, MD Danbury Hospital Western Connecticut Health Network Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Yaranov: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke (CVA) that is not included in the usual cardioembolic risk assessments for patients with atrial fibrillation. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of OSA on CVA rate in patients with atrial fibrillation. We found that Obstructive sleep apnea in patients with atrial fibrillation is an independent predictor of CVA and this association may have important clinical implications in CVA risk stratification. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Stroke / 17.01.2015

Jonathan Thigpen, PharmD Assistant Professor Clinical and Administrative Sciences Notre Dame of Maryland University School of Pharmacy MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan Thigpen, PharmD Assistant Professor Clinical and Administrative Sciences Notre Dame of Maryland University School of Pharmacy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Thigpen: This effort assessed the accuracy of International Classification of Disease 9th Edition (ICD-9) stroke codes in identifying valid stroke events in a cohort of atrial fibrillation (AF) patients. The initial electronic search yielded 1,812 events across three stroke centers (Boston Medical Center, Geisinger Health System, and University of Alabama). All ICD-9 identified stroke events were vetted through manual chart review with final adjudication by a stroke neurologist. Atrial fibrillation was verified by evidence via electrocardiogram at stroke admission, 6 months prior to, or 90 days after stroke admission. In addition to assessing the accuracy of the stroke codes alone, we also assessed the accuracy of stroke and Atrial fibrillation codes combined as well as the accuracy of stroke codes when seeking for stroke associated with Atrial fibrillation. These additional steps give readers insight as to the accuracy and reliability of using ICD-9 codes alone to create a stroke plus AF cohort. We feel that this effort is extremely important given the increasing reliance on ICD-9 codes as a means of identifying stroke events and covariates in research, especially research using administrative data. The positive predictive value (PPV) of stroke codes alone was 94.2%. PPVs did not differ across clinical site or by type of event (ischemic vs. intracranial hemorrhage). PPV of stroke codes did differ by event coding position (primary vs. other; 97.2% vs. 83.7%) and by ischemic stroke code (433 vs. 434; 85.2% vs. 94.4%). When combined with validation of Atrial fibrillation codes, the PPV of stroke codes decreased to 82.2%. After excluding ischemic stroke due to a different mechanism (eg, vascular procedure, tumor, sepsis) the PPV dropped further to 72.8%. As a separate exercise, manual review confirmed 33 (7.2%) ischemic strokes in 458 events coded as "without infarction". (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 16.12.2014

Winnie Nelson PharmD, MS, MBA Director, Health Economics & Outcomes Research Janssen Pharmaceuticals MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Winnie Nelson PharmD, MS, MBA Director, Health Economics & Outcomes Research Janssen Pharmaceuticals Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nelson: Although warfarin has long served as the standard of care for stroke prevention in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF), research has shown nearly one-third of international normalized ratio (INR) levels among stabilized patients on warfarin are out-of-range. Data recently published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy underscores the potential complications of out-of-range INRs, with the aim of informing patient care. The analysis of a U.S. Veterans Health Administration dataset showed out-of-range INRs were associated with a significantly increased risk of adverse clinical outcomes, including stroke and major bleeding. Of particular interest, the study also showed the magnitude of risk of thromboembolic events – such as ischemic stroke – was several folds higher in sub-therapeutic INR levels (i.e., INR <2) than risk of bleeding events when INR measures were >3. In another words, the research found more risks to patients when INRs were too low than when INRs were too high. (more…)
Heart Disease / 04.12.2014

dr_John-Seeger MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. John Seeger, PharmD, DrPH Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Dr. Seeger: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study is part of an ongoing research program initiated in 2013 to assess prescribing patterns and real-world safety and effectiveness of oral anticoagulants, including dabigatran, for the reduction of stroke risk. The study program is expected to run through the end of 2016. Boehringer Ingelheim and Brigham and Women’s Hospital are aiming to gather data from more than 100,000 U.S. NVAF patients. Using a sequential matched cohort design, the safety and effectiveness of dabigatran compared to warfarin among patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) receiving these medications in routine care settings can be assessed periodically. The interim findings at this stage come from 38,378 non-valvular atrial fibrillation patients in two health insurance databases, MarketScan (31,058 patients) and UnitedHealth (7,320 patients). The primary analysis follows patients from start of therapy until a switch or discontinuation of the anticoagulant, an outcome event, or disenrollment. The average follow-up was five months for patients in the dabigatran group and four months for those taking warfarin. The primary outcomes measured in the analysis are stroke and major hemorrhage. Interim findings from the combined databases showed a 25 percent reduction in the rate of major hemorrhage (hazard ratio [HR] 0.75, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] 0.65-0.87, 354 vs. 395 events) and a 23 percent reduction in strokes (HR 0.77, CI 0.54-1.09, 62 vs 69 events) for dabigatran compared to warfarin among these patients with NVAF. The database-specific results indicate a reduction in the rate of major hemorrhage with dabigatran (MarketScan: HR 0.78, CI 0.67- 0.91; UnitedHealth: HR 0.56, CI 0.36-0.86). In the larger MarketScan database, dabigatran reduced the stroke rate by 36 percent (HR 0.64, CI 0.44-0.95), while in the smaller UnitedHealth database, stroke rates were not different between the two anticoagulants, as there were only 26 strokes in total which led to wide confidence intervals (HR=1.62, CI 0.72-3.66). (more…)
Heart Disease / 28.11.2014

Concetta Crivera MPH, Pharm.D Associate Director, Outcomes Research Ortho-McNeil Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Concetta Crivera MPH, Pharm.D Associate Director, Outcomes Research Ortho-McNeil Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Findings from the study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) 2014 Scientific Sessions showed once-daily XARELTO® (rivaroxaban) is associated with significantly fewer hospitalization days and outpatient visits compared to warfarin in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). Corresponding hospitalization and outpatient healthcare costs were also significantly lower for XARELTO® compared to warfarin in NVAF patients, according to longitudinal, real-world findings from this observational study. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 18.11.2014

Prof Simon Stewart PhD Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC, Australia MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof Simon Stewart PhD Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC, Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Stewart: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common irregular heart beat and a major cause of deadly and disabling stroke and chronic heart failure. Atrial fibrillation has become a major public health issue that is putting increasing pressure on health care systems worldwide. In an attempt to reduce re-hospitalisations and death due to Atrial fibrillation, we designed the randomised controlled trial the Standard versus Atrial Fibrillation-spEcific managemenT strategY (SAFETY); a home-based, nurse-led, AF-specific management programme delivered to patients who have been hospitalised with Atrial fibrillation and involved individualised AF management. Half of participants (n=168) were given this intervention and the other half (n=167) underwent standard post-hospital management. All participants were followed-up over 24 months with specific clinic visits scheduled at 12 months and 24 months. We found that patients in the intervention group had proportionately more days alive and out of hospital compared to patients who received standard management (reflecting a combination of less hospital stay and prolonged survival). Further, when intervention patients did go to hospital, the length-of-stay of their admission was shorter than for patients under standard management. (more…)
Cognitive Issues, Heart Disease / 17.11.2014

Dr. T. Jared Bunch, M.D Medical Director for Heart Rhythm Services Intermountain Healthcare network. MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. T. Jared Bunch, M.D Medical Director for Heart Rhythm Services Intermountain Healthcare network. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bunch: Approximately 5 years ago we found that atrial fibrillation was associated with all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. At that time we did not know the mechanisms behind the association. One hypothesis that we had was brain injury in patients with atrial fibrillation is in a spectrum, large injuries result in strokes and repetitive small injuries result in dementia. In this regard, we anticipated that anticoagulation effectiveness and use may impact dementia risk. Early this year we published in HeartRhythm Journal that atrial fibrillation patients with no history of dementia that have used warfarin, but had high percent times outside of the therapeutic range were much more likely to develop dementia. We gained some insight from this trial in that we saw much higher risks of the patients were either over or under anticoagulated. Amongst our atrial fibrillation patients using warfarin nearly one third are also taking aspirin, typically due to the presence of coronary artery disease or a prior myocardial infarction. We hypothesized since these patients were using two agents that increase risk of bleed that over anticoagulation with warfarin may be an even great risk for dementia. This is was we found. The patients over anticoagulated greater than 30 percent of the time were nearly 2 and a half times more likely to develop dementia compared to those that were over anticoagulated less that 10 percent to the time. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, University of Pittsburgh / 04.11.2014

Yuting Zhang, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Director Pharmaceutical Economics Research Group University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management. MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yuting Zhang, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Director Pharmaceutical Economics Research Group University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management. Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Zhang: Patients with atrial fibrillation who take the blood thinner dabigatran are at greater risk for major bleeding and gastrointestinal bleeding than those who take warfarin, indicating that greater caution is needed when prescribing dabigatran to certain high-risk patients. High-risk groups include those who are 75 and older; African Americans; those with chronic kidney disease; and those with seven or more co-existing medical problems. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Obstructive Sleep Apnea / 19.10.2014

Adrian Baranchuk MD FACC FRCPC Associate Professor of Medicine Director, EP Training Program Queen's University Kingston, Ontario, Canada MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adrian Baranchuk MD FACC FRCPC Associate Professor of Medicine Director, EP Training Program Queen's University Kingston, Ontario, Canada Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Baranchuk: In this study, we investigated whether obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass surgery. We found the risk to increase by approximately two-fold for patients with obstructive sleep apnea, suggesting that this disease is a strong predictor of atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass surgery. We also found that the risk increases in patients with more severe obstructive sleep apnea. This is an important association to explore since atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass surgery increases patient mortality, the risk of stroke, hospital stay, healthcare costs, and has substantial burden on patients and their families. It is also a common complication of the surgery, occurring in up to half of the patients. Knowing which factors increase its risk gives us a better understanding of how to manage it and mitigate its negative consequences. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 13.10.2014

Dr Jelena Kornej Department of Electrophysiology Heart Center Leipzig Leipzig Germany; MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Jelena Kornej Department of Electrophysiology Heart Center Leipzig Leipzig Germany; Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Komej: Both atrial fibrillation (AF) and renal impairment are known to coexist and associated with increased morbidity and mortality. However, there is only limited data on changes of renal function after AF catheter ablation and predictors thereof. This is the largest study analyzing the effects of atrial fibrillation catheter ablation on renal function and changes thereof in a contemporary population during mid-term follow-up. We found that lower baseline eGFR was associated with higher CHADS2 and CHA2DS2-VASc scores and that both scores were independently associated with eGFR changes after atrial fibrillation catheter ablation as were atrial fibrillation recurrences. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Mediterranean Diet, Omega-3 Fatty Acids / 03.10.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Anil Nigam MD MSc FRCPC Director, Research Program in Preventive Cardiology at ÉPIC Centre Montreal Heart Institute Associate Professor, Department of Medicine at Université de Montréal MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Anil Nigam MD MSc FRCPC Director, Research Program in Preventive Cardiology at ÉPIC Centre Montreal Heart Institute Associate Professor, Department of Medicine at Université de Montréal Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Nigam: The main finding is that high-dose fish oil rich in marine omega-3 fatty acids did not reduce recurrence of atrial fibrillation in individuals with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation not receiving conventional anti-arrhythmic therapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 01.10.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lior Yankelson, MD PhD Tel Aviv Medical Center MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Yankelson: The main findings of the study are that new onset atrial fibrillation after TAVI does not confer a significant risk for mortality , and confers somewhat increased risk for stroke. The latter issue is expected to become less significant with new technological advancements coming into the market, such as lower profile devices and emboli protection both mechanical and pharmaceutical. The more significant and alarming finding is that patients with atrial fibrillation have more than 4 fold risk for death at 1 year post TAVI compared to patients without afib. This is very significant and raises questions regarding the benefit for the procedure in these patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Case Western, Heart Disease, Scripps / 29.09.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip Gorelick, M.D., M.P.H, F.A.C.P. Medical Director of the Hauenstein Neuroscience Center Saint Mary’s Health Care, Grand Rapids, MI; Professor, Translational Science and Molecular Medicine Michigan State University College of Human Medicine; Board member of the National Stroke Association Philip Gorelick, M.D., M.P.H, F.A.C.P. Medical Director of the Hauenstein Neuroscience Center Saint Mary’s Health Care, Grand Rapids, MI; Professor, Translational Science and Molecular Medicine Michigan State University College of Human Medicine; Board member of the National Stroke Association and Judy Lenane, R.N., M.H.A. Chief Clinical Officer of iRhythm Technologies, Inc. Judy Lenane, R.N., M.H.A. Chief Clinical Officer of iRhythm Technologies, Inc. Medical Research: What is atrial fibrillation and how common a problem is it among US adults? Dr. Gorelick: Nearly 3 million people in the US suffer from Atrial Fibrillation or “Afib,” an abnormal heart rhythm that causes the heart to beat rapidly and irregularly. While Afib can occur at any age, the incidence increases with age and the number of cases is expected to increase significantly in the coming years as the population ages. Approximately 5 percent of people 65 years and older and one in every 10 people over 80 years of age have Afib. It is more common in those with high blood pressure, heart disease or lung disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 10.09.2014

Mintu Turakhia, MD MAS, FHRS FACC FAHA Assistant Professor of Medicine and (by courtesy) of Health Research & Policy Stanford University School of Medicine Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology Core Investigator, Center for Innovation to Implementation VA Palo Alto Healthcare System MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mintu Turakhia, MD MAS, FHRS FACC FAHA Assistant Professor of Medicine and (by courtesy) of Health Research & Policy Stanford University School of Medicine Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology Core Investigator, Center for Innovation to Implementation VA Palo Alto Healthcare System Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study Dr. Turakhia: We found that the reported success rate of a study correlated with the number of times the study was cited in the literature, even after adjustment for a wide range of factors. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 03.09.2014

Jean-Philippe Couderc, PhD, MBA Associate Professor of Medicine Research Associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Rochester, NY Heart Research Follow-Up Program - Cardiology Department Rochester, New-York 14642 MedicalResearch.com: Interview with: Jean-Philippe Couderc, PhD, MBA Associate Professor of Medicine Research Associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Rochester, NY Heart Research Follow-Up Program - Cardiology Department Rochester, New-York 14642 Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Couderc: We have developed a unique technology which enables any individual to evaluate if he/she suffers from atrial fibrillation (AF) by using a simple video camera (webcam). There are approximately 3.2 million people with AF in the US, and estimated 30 million people in the world. It has been shown that around 30% of people suffering from AF are not aware of their disease, this form is called 'silent' atrial fibrillation. AF is a progressive disease leading to stroke and heart failure. It results in significant morbidity and mortality. The total cost of AF in the US is estimated to $7billion and 75% of this cost is associated with patient hospitalization. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, Stanford / 21.08.2014

Marco Perez, MD Instructor in Cardiovascular Medicine Director, Inherited Cardiac Arrhythmia Clinic Stanford University Medical Center Cardiac Electrophysiology & Arrhythmia Service Stanford, CA 94305-5233 MedicalResearch.com Interview with Marco Perez, MD Instructor in Cardiovascular Medicine Director, Inherited Cardiac Arrhythmia Clinic Stanford University Medical Center Cardiac Electrophysiology & Arrhythmia Service Stanford, CA 94305-5233 Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Perez: It was already known that obesity is an important risk factor for atrial fibrillation. We studied over 80,000 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative who were followed for the onset of atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm associated with stroke and death. We found that those who exercised more than 9 MET-hours/week (equivalent to a brisk walk of 30 minutes six days a week) were 10% less likely to get atrial fibrillation than those who were sedentary. Importantly, the more obese the women were, the more they benefited from the exercise in terms of atrial fibrillation risk reduction. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA / 13.08.2014

Dr. Juhani Airaksinen, MD, PhD Heart Center, Turku University Hospital Turku, Finland MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Juhani Airaksinen, MD, PhD Heart Center, Turku University Hospital Turku, Finland Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Airaksinen: The main result of our study is that the risk of thromboembolic complications in general was low (0.7%). However the risk rose to a 3.7-fold level when the delay to cardioversion exceeded 12 hours. The time-dependent increase in the risk of thromboembolic complications was more pronounced in female patients. In addition, as expected, old age, heart failure and diabetes were the other significant predictors of postcardioversion thromboembolic complications. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Stroke / 01.07.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Tommaso Sanna MD Institute of Cardiology Catholic University of the Sacred Heart Rome, Italy MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Sanna: In patients with cryptogenic stroke, continuous ECG monitoring with an implantable device, called the Reveal XT Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM), discovered Atrial Fibrillation in 6.4 times more patients than conventional diagnostic strategies at six months, 7.3 times more patients at 12 months, and 8.8 times more patients at 36 months. In more detail, after 36 months of follow-up, 30% of patients with cryptogenic stroke had at least one episode of atrial fibrillation. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, JACC / 22.05.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nileshkumar J. Patel MD Staten Island University Hospital Staten Island, NY, 10304 and Abhishek J. Deshmukh MD University of Arkansas Little Rock, AR MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We analyzed data from almost 4 million hospitalizations for atrial fibrillation (AF) from more than 1,200 hospitals across 45 states in last decade, and found that - Hospitalization rates for atrial fibrillation have increased exponentially among US adults during the past 10 years, particularly in those 65 years or older. - The most frequent coexisting conditions were hypertension (59.99%), diabetes (21.47%) and chronic pulmonary disease (20.01%). - In terms of geographic distribution of admissions, the hospitals in the South constitute (38.5%) the highest percentage of atrial fibrillation hospitalizations, followed by Midwest (24.9%), Northeast (22.2%) and West (14.4%). - Overall in-hospital mortality was 1%. The mortality rate was highest in >80 years age group (1.93%) and patients with concomitant heart failure (8.2%). - The percentage of patients discharged to nursing facility increased from 8.1% in 2000 to 11.5% in 2010 and need for home health care increased from 6.7% to 13.1%. Approximately one fourth of the patients (25.83%) were discharged to long-term care institution if atrial fibrillation hospitalization was complicated by acute ischemic stroke. - Mean cost of AF hospitalization increased significantly from $6,410 in 2001 to $8,439 in 2010 (24.04% increase, p <0.001) even after adjusting for inflation. This represents an absolute increment in annual national cost from approximate 2.15 billion dollars in 2001 to 3.46 billion dollars in 2010. The mean cost of care was highest if AF hospitalization was associated with heart failure ($33,161) and valvular disorders ($28,030). (more…)